Jelte Liebrand
Written by
Jelte Liebrand

savvy navvy explained

Posted on Monday, Apr 9, 2018 | reading time: 4 min

What’s savvy navvy all about?

A question we get from people new to savvy navvy is, “Sounds good, but how’s it different to what’s already available?”. You might be wondering the same thing, so let me try to explain.

You’re right in thinking there are a wide range of apps and services available on the market which offer a broad spectrum of sailing-related data (charts, wind etc). Often they’re targeted towards a particular type of sailor and their functionality increases in line with the skippers experience, as does the learning curve, the complexity and its price! If you dedicate time to really learning how they work then they become hugely powerful tools, but it does take time.

Now I’d hazard a guess and say that most of us come under the “cruising” category, and by that I mean boat owners and charters. We may take part in the occasional race but in general cruising is what we do. So what does a typical cruiser need in terms of tools and data to say, plot a route to that nice marina up the coast? The most obvious is charts. No skipper worth their salt will cast-off a single line without carrying paper charts onboard. No matter how much we rely on technology, we must all carry “analogue” fall-backs. Most of us will also have electronic charts as well either on our smartphones, tablets or chartplotters. Then there’s wind and weather data which can be found pinned on the marina notice board, on the VHF, downloadable as GRIB files, or offered as an app. If you’re in a tidal area, you’ll need tide tables and even if not, you’ll probably want swell and wave data.

So you’re easily looking at half a dozen different data sets, which you now need to piece together to create a route, and answer questions like: what’s the best course for the predicted wind, how long will the route take, what charted hazards must we avoid, what time should we leave to arrive before dark, do I trust my calculations? Worse still, the combinatorial effect of all this data means it becomes difficult to answer some crucial questions;

If the wind is 15kt at this location at 1pm, then I can probably get to that location at 3pm, but at that point there is a swell of 3 metres there, so maybe I want to instead go to this other location first, but the wind there will drop at 4pm, so I might not get to the marina by nightfall… Oh and the tide will turn at 5pm… ugh

Even for seasoned sailors this can take time, be a bit of a chore (especially when the rest of the crew are in the pub) and for some it can still be a bit daunting.

In fact, doesn’t it remind you a bit of how planning journeys used to be before Google Maps? A trip to visit Great Aunt Sally would involve needing walking directions on a map, a bus timetable, a train timetable, figuring out the transfer times, and finding a phone number for a taxi at the other end. Today with Google Maps you can plan the entire journey door-to-door, with real time traffic information, in two clicks, in under ten in seconds.

We believe planning a sailing trip should be just as quick and simple, which is why we created savvy navvy. Think of us as Google Maps for sailing.

Instead of real time traffic information, we gather real time weather forecasts, tidal streams, ocean currents, sea state information and combine that with official Hydrographic Nautical chart data, to give you a couple of routing options you would probably have spent hours figuring out yourself.

Our current version accounts for wind and charted shallows for various countries, with a premium service offering tidal calculations to come later on. Give it go and sign up today!